KANA has released a study that says that the public sector still falls short in online customer support. The study made use of actual visits to various state Web sites will email queries about renewing driver's licenses and recycling. Here's what they say:
The study of state government Web sites showed that the public sector remains dependent on telephone and in-person customer service, despite the significant costs of this form of customer support. More than two weeks after being queried with questions concerning contacting state representatives, renewing driver?s licenses and recycling, 20 percent of the states have yet to respond. Further, many states that did respond within two weeks simply pushed citizens to costly phone calls, rather than online FAQ?s and Web-based knowledge repositories which could have provided responses at a low cost. One third of the states surveyed did not support any online FAQ?s, resulting in frustrating and time-consuming searches.
Those in charge of state Web sites need to make a conscious effort to increase customer service, not just put up a collection of out of date information. One of the things that is not too costly is simply creating a list of FAQs. To do this effectively , however, you need to have some central location that collects the questions and answers so that you can tell which are the most frequently asked. If every agency puts up one or a dozen email addresses you'll never know what's being asked. This goes back to that enterprise thing again. Just one more reason why eGovernmnent drives cross agency operations.
As an aside, I'm sure that KANA things that they're being clever with their little pop-up windows for displaying press releases, but they're really making it difficult for other's to reference there information. For a whole rant on a related topic, Doc has been writing some very good stuff.